House moving has put our regular Armada sessions on hold, hence the hiatus. And with my only available gaming space too small for a miniatures game, alternatives are required.
And so, after giving you skirmishes in X-Wing, battles and campaigns in Armada we finally give you the war in Star Wars: Rebellion!
(plus it just fits on my 2×2.5 foot table, which isn’t much good for anything else)
Rebellion still sits at the top of my list for favourite board game. We’ve played it pelenty of times already (as anyone following the Twitter feed will know) but we’ve never blogged about it before. But this site was looking a little bare of late so I decided we needed something to fill the pages!
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how to write this as a blog post as there’s a definite limit to what you can do pre-game. So I guess I’ll just give a general overview of the board game for those not familiar with it, and some thoughts on how I’d like things to go.
Rebellion is an asymmetric board game – each side (Imperials and Rebels) have completely different victory conditions. For the Imperials, they need to locate and destroy the Rebel base by sending out probes and interrogating captured rebels. For the Rebels, they need to hold off the Imperial forces whilst undertaking missions to help increase their popularity so the entire galaxy can rise up and dance like Ewoks.
Andy and I have already randomised sides with me pulling the Rebels. That means all I have to do to win is hide from the Imperials. And the galaxy is a pretty big place so that should be simple, right?
Well, no. The galaxy might be big, but the board isn’t. There are 32 planetary systems in play and a seven of them will be under Imperial control at the start of the game (Coruscant, 5 planets drawn from a short list and, as we’re playing the expansion, one remote system where the Death Star is being secretly built). So, clearly I don’t want to plonk my secret base too close to Imperial territory such as, say Alderaan…
After selecting a place to hide my next problem is the Imperial fleet. It’s huge, and it’s searching for my base! Rebellion has a character driven mechanic where only characters can move fleets. That means if I can tie up all the Imperial leaders doing ‘stuff’ such as opposing my missions, they won’t be available to move ships. Definitely a good plan in the early part of the game.
Strategies in Rebellion are often dictated by the cards you draw. With that in mind, I have three simple objectives;
1) slow down the imperial movement
2) filter my objective deck (the early cards are generally poor)
3) disrupt the means of production! (By sabotaging Star Destroyer building)
As I said earlier, this is something of an odd post to write! There’s a limit on the amount of forward planning that can be done until we set up and I can see where the Imperial fleets are and set my base. But having a general plan can’t hurt, right?
So, the starting setup was pretty interesting. The Empire were concentrated in the bottom half of the board with only one planet further out. I devised a risky strategy of jumping on the Imperial fleet there – if I could take out their Star Destroyer it would leave the Imperials there stranded and three entire sectors free from the Empire. It was a gamble, though – the starting Rebel forces are pretty weak and taking down a Star Destroyer is not an easy prospect at the best of times.
Still, the attack could be useful in other ways – a good way to hide the Rebel base is
misdirection. Attacking the Imperials right away would hopefully get Andy looking over towards Mon Calamari. With that in mind, I opted to place the hidden Rebel base on Tatooine – in close proximity to three Rebel-held planets would mean I could hopefully stall the Imperial fleets and could also rush reinforcements to the base if needed.
Rebellion is a great game because you can’t cover everything, you need to act depending on your resources at hand. So I hoped to keep the Imperials guessing at my base location by running missions and making feints across the galaxy. Sadly, one mission I really needed to pull off involved Han Solo taking leading a strike force in the bottom left area of the board. If he had pulled it off I would have been
able to deny the Empire a foothold in the region and then my plan was to move the Rebel base from Tatooine to Dantooine (ideally). Solo fluffed his rolls, though, but later managed the same trick on Coruscant itself which caused at least some mild panic on my opponent’s side of the table.
Such actions may have brought my time, but not enough time to score my objectives. Filtering them had been a priority, but the results had been so-so as I ended up with quite a few I just couldn’t pull off. And, as I’ve said you can’t do everything in Rebellion, this meant my build queue stalled – I had a solid ground force but I wasn’t going to be able to replace them once they were gone. So when the Imperials located the Rebel base on Tatooine I opted to move the base before the full hammer of the Imperial army came crashing down, hoping there were some corners of the galaxy I could hide in for a turn. But the pickings turned out to be slim, with only Yavin 4 being an option.
And, sure enough, the Imperials duly arrived and rounded up the Alliance command before I could get my reinforcements back to protect them.
Gambled and lost, but that’s what makes this game so damn good!
Where my troops are; Where my troops want to be;